Centurion Mk. V-2 DK

The Centurion tank is an British Main Battle Tank, which in a number of 216 units went into service in the Danish Army in 1953. The Centurion was the first modern tank of the Danish Army, as the Sherman M4A3 was already obsolete when it entered service the year before.

The Centurion tank served both on Zealand and in Jutland at the Guard Hussars Regiment in Næstved and the Jutland Dragoon Regiment in Holstebro respectively. The Centurion was also widely used among other NATO partners, and in the rest of the world from Sweden in the north to South Africa in the south.

Originally, the Centurion was equipped with an 84 mm gun, which was a good gun when it went into service in the mid-fifties. In the mid-sixties, about 100 of the Army’s Centurions were upgraded with the British 105 mm L7A1 rifled gun, which later became NATO’s standard tank gun and was used on the Leopard 1, among others.

With the 105 mm gun in the majority of all tanks, NATO partners were well equipped to counter the threat from the East. It was thus only in the early 1980s that NATO began to use tanks with 120 mm guns, as on the German Leopard 2 or the British Chieftain.

The Centurion tanks received several mid life updates while in service. In the mid-1980s, the most extensive upgrade of these tanks took place. Most of the tanks that had previously been equipped with 105 mm guns were fitted with a new fire control system, which included laser rangefinder, thermal sight for the gunner and image intensifying equipment for the driver and commander. This equipment gave the vehicles the ability to fight effectively at night, and was at the time more advanced than the fire control system fitted to the Leopard 1, at least until the Leopard 1 was upgraded with the same type of equipment in the early 1990s.

The Centurions with the 84 mm gun were transferred to local defence units as ‘tank destroyers’, to complement the M10 Achilles.

The Centurion was withdrawn from service in the mid-1990s.

The vehicle on display is fully roadworthy.

Centurion Mk. V-2 DK
Country of origin: Great Britain
Type: Medium-heavy tank
Speed: 34 km/h
Range: 200 km on road / 100 km in terrain
Weight: 47 tons empty / 51 tons fully loaded
Width: 3.4 m with side-plates
Height: 3.39 m
Length: 7.7 m vehicle / 9.75 m cannon at 12 o’clock
Crew: 4
Armament: 105 mm L7A1 riflet cannon, .30 Cal (7.62 mm) commander’s hatch gun, .30 Cal (7.62 mm) co-axial gun, 57 mm smoke launchers
Engine: V12-cylinder Rolls-Royce Meteor Mk IV B, 27 liters 650 HP, gasoline ; Auxiliary engine 4-cylinder Morris 1000 gasoline 27 HP
Transmission: 5-speed, Merritt-Brown type Z51R Mk. F
Year of introduction: 1953 (rebuild to DK in last part of the 80s)
Phased out year: 1994